I just lately appeared on a Public Broadcasting Service present discussing the continuing insurance coverage disaster in Florida. In the course of the section, an insurance coverage business knowledgeable attributed insurance coverage firms’ skyrocketing premiums, unresolved claims, and monetary troubles to what they termed as ‘frivolous lawsuits’, together with the contingent charges of attorneys and public adjusters. As I listened, it struck me how there’s a obvious lack of accountability from the insurance coverage business’s facet on this state of affairs. The reality typically appears obscured, with business representatives habitually deflecting blame quite than partaking in sincere self-reflection.
Conversely, I got here throughout a freeze loss lawsuit just lately gained by AmGuard.1 This case serves as an essential reminder for policyholders concerning the significance of completely vetting the credentials, expertise, and observe report of attorneys earlier than hiring them. It’s essential for attorneys to scrupulously assess claims earlier than initiating authorized motion, guaranteeing the legitimacy of the declare and the lively involvement and settlement of the shopper concerning the litigation course of, which is inherently difficult.
Of their eagerness to safe a shopper, I’ve noticed that some attorneys may make overly optimistic statements comparable to, “Don’t fear, these instances all the time settle.” My recommendation is to be cautious of such assurances. Choosing a fast settlement typically leads to accepting far lower than what’s truthful or deserved, primarily based on a false impression that litigation is simple or ‘straightforward.’ As a lawyer, it’s important to method the choice of your lawyer with discernment and discover one who’s dedicated to in search of justice for you quite than an expedient decision to acquire a fast charge.
It isn’t a secret that our regulation agency has been following AmGuard, as famous in Unhealthy Religion Verdict Upheld. So, I studied how this case was misplaced and located that the one particular pleading that indicated any particular versus normal information was this one, and the one factor particular was the greenback quantity of the dispute:
From and after the time Plaintiffs Declare was introduced to Defendant, Defendant’s legal responsibility to pay the complete declare in accordance with the phrases of the Coverage was moderately clear. Nonetheless, Defendant has refused to pay Plaintiff in full, regardless of there being no foundation in any respect on which an affordable insurance coverage firm would have relied to disclaim the complete cost. Particularly, Defendant erroneously undervalued Plaintiffs declare by erroneously figuring out her declare to be price solely $1,671.85; in reality, Plaintiff’s declare is at the very least valued at $56,126.67. As such, Defendant’s conduct constitutes a breach of the frequent regulation obligation of fine religion and truthful dealing.
The higher trendy follow of regulation is to put particular particulars into the grievance with dates, proof, and information that reveal why extra is owed and why the insurance coverage firm acted in dangerous religion. To do that, attorneys should spend time with the shopper earlier than the lawsuit is filed to make sure that the case has a strong factual foundation. Simply because the insurance coverage firm has one estimate of harm totally different from the policyholder’s estimate doesn’t imply the insurance coverage firm has carried out something fallacious in its claims dealing with.
AmGuard finally moved for abstract judgment, and in response, the policyholder’s lawyer filed nothing aside from to maneuver to withdraw from the lawsuit. The lawyer apparently despatched a letter months earlier to the shopper saying he was not capable of get in contact with the shopper. The shopper must be on board with the work that’s going to be required and an lively participant. I do not know why the lawyer didn’t file a movement to withdraw a lot sooner.
The consequence may very well be predicted by anybody. With no proof introduced to rebut the movement for abstract judgment, the court docket discovered for AmGuard.
Was this a frivolous lawsuit—one with no benefit on the time it was filed? Who is aware of? There was actually nothing carried out by the lawyer for the policyholder. Possibly that lawyer had good purpose to do nothing. However I have no idea of a purpose to do nothing if the case had been correctly ready earlier than submitting the lawsuit. There actually gave the impression to be proof that extra was owed, however the lawyer didn’t file something in response to the movement.
My expertise and perception is that it’s uncommon that property insurance coverage lawsuits are frivolous. The quantities owed could also be lower than what might be gained after listening to all sides to the story. Nonetheless, the quantities claimed are all the time rather more than the insurance coverage firm has paid and the policyholder truthfully believes is owed. But, instances just like the one cited above do nothing however beg for questions on why the declare was filed within the first place and the way it may so simply have been misplaced.
Thought For The Day
If there have been no dangerous folks, there could be no good attorneys.